Wednesday Nov 22 2017

After banning Mehran, Swiss reject Brahumdagh Bugti’s request for asylum

LONDON: Switzerland rejected on Wednesday the request of exiled leader of the banned Baloch Republican Party (BRP) Brahumdagh Bugti to seek political asylum after more than seven years, a government source confirmed, just a week after imposing lifetime entry ban on prominent exiled Baloch leader and Bugti’s brother-in-law, Mehran Marri.

A source in the Swiss government confirmed that Brahumdagh Bugti’s asylum application was turned down because of his links with “incidents of terrorism, violence and militant activities” and the rejection letter clearly sets out these allegations.

Bugti confirmed to this correspondent that his asylum application has been rejected by the Swiss government on the basis of allegations that he has links with the banned Baloch Republican Army (BRA). He said that he had the right to appeal and he will take his case to the next level of Swiss judiciary and to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), if needed.

“These are the same old allegations that I have always denied, of being involved in militancy,” he said.

The Swiss government source revealed that Bugti has been given right to file appeal against the decision, if he wishes so, at the Federal Administrative Court (FAC). The FCA falls under the department of Justice and Police and next decision will be made at that level, where Bugti will be presented with the evidence that the Swiss authorities hold against him, and his lawyers will have the opportunity to present the case in defence of their client.

Bugti had applied for asylum in Swiss in November 2010 claiming that his life was at risk. He had been living in Afghanistan prior to leaving the country for a Middle Eastern state and from there he flew to Geneva.

It was last week that the Swiss authorities detained Mehran Marri and his family at the Zurich airport and deported them to Germany, after slapping a ban on Mehran Baluch for having links with militancy in Balochistan. Marri was en route to Geneva for a conference on Balochistan, which he had organised with Bugti. The charge-sheet by the Swiss against Marri stated that he was being denied entry into Switzerland because he was deemed a “security risk” to the country or a UN member state.

On January 16 last year, Geo News had revealed that Baloch and Swiss sources had claimed that the asylum application of the outlawed BRP leader had been turned down by the Swiss immigration authorities. The BRP had reacted to the report with fury and termed it "propaganda" against the exiled Baloch leader.

But Brahumdagh himself and the BRP officials accept that the grandson of Nawab Akbar Bugti had asked the Swiss immigration authorities to make a decision on his case but he was informed at the start of this year that his case "remains in the process" and "no time frame" can be given.

Bugti alleges that the Switzerland government is under pressure to not grant him citizenship status, which enables him to get the Swiss passport for travel.

On September 19, 2016, it was reported that Brahumdagh Bugti had formally asked the Indian government to give him asylum and Indian nationality so that he could live in India and move around the world to campaign against Pakistan.

In a world exclusive, Geo News had revealed on 15th September that Bugti was set to apply for Indian citizenship and a deal had been reached between the banned BRP leader and the Indian government.

The Indian government and the BRP, however, had initially denied the report but just few hours later the news turned out to be correct and Bugti officially announced that he would apply for Indian citizenship for himself and his family, and visited Indian diplomatic mission in Geneva.